Mattapoisett Selectmen will stay short staffed

Jan 9, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — There are several options that the Board of Selectmen could have taken after Tyler Macallister resigned this fall, allegedly to pursue the Town Administrator role. But given the realities of a term that was winding down anyhow, the best and easiest option is perhaps just waiting for this spring’s elections.

Selectman Jordan Collyer said that he and the other remaining Selectman Paul Silvia have never discussed the issue, though they did have to consult Town Counsel on it.

There are two options when a vacancy opens up on the board. 200 voters can sign a petition to hold a special election, or Selectmen can call one.

What makes a special election less practical in this scenario is that the election only lasts until the end of the former member’s term. For Macallister that would have been in 2020.

Collyer said that if there had been a year and a half or more of Macallister’s term left, he would have thought the cost of a special election justified, and called one. However, he said, the board is perfectly able to function with two members.

It’s perfectly legal to have a two-person board. Both members just need to be there to make decisions (so a smaller board cuts the chance for remote participation).

If two board members find themselves on opposite sides of a question, they may be gridlocked on a particular issue for a few months. But, Collyer siad, this happened even when Macallister was on the board and missed a meeting at which Collyer and Silva disagreed on a liquor license. All it meant was that the license decision was postponed for a few weeks.

However disagreements tend to be rare, even when Selectmen have opposing views, since “we will listen to both sides,” Collyer said

If Macallister does submit an application for Town Administrator, is not offered the position, and would like to be a Selectman again, he would have to pull papers and get enough signatures in time to run, and be elected to the position again.